Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos…
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. How’s that for reliable? With everything (including maybe Scott Brooks’ job) on the line Durant had by far his best game of these playoffs. He set the tone early, scoring 14 points on 6-10 shooting in the first quarter. He was able to make moves, work off the ball and shake Tony Allen enough to get some clean looks in the second half. Durant finished with 36 points on 23 shots, he was aggressive and got to the line 15 times. He also had 10 boards. Russell Westbrook played his best playoff game, too. Consider this a reminder that when you have two of the league’s top 10 players and they are both on, good things happen.
David West, Indiana Pacers. That is leadership — the Pacers are playing Saturday because of West. He had 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter when he was making plays. When the Pacers went small he became a fulcrum of the offense in the middle and could do that thanks to his passing and ball handling. West also had 12 boards.
Frank Vogel, coach, Indiana Pacers. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME. STOP PUTTING ROY HIBBERT IN THE GAME.
Golden State Warriors’ bench. They were not mind-glowingly good — the bench scored 30 points on 40 percent shooting — but they made some plays when called upon. (And they were better than the Clippers bench, which shot 28 percent.) Marreese Speights stepped up big in the fourth quarter when David Lee fouled out. Jordan Crawford and Harrison Barnes each had 8 points (not efficiently, but points). And they helped key the win over the Clippers as much as anyone else.